Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Unexpected Phone Call

I have heard from some of you looking for answers on the unexpected phone call. I guess it was a cliff-hanger with this title. So you all aren't sitting on the edge of your seats, here we go...

As mom and I began our trek back to Colorado, I had an important task to complete for my job before we could get much further than the Starbucks down the street from our house. So, needless to say, we got a pretty late start with my needing to work in the car sitting outside Starbucks.

While I worked on the task that needed to be done ASAP, mom went into Starbucks and bought a couple of coffees and a bottle of water for the road. She also decided to make a pit stop, just in case. By the time mom dilly-dallied around and got back with the coffees and water, I was finished with the task I needed to get done before hitting the road. So, mom put the computer back in it's case and we hit the road.

It wasn't long after being on the road before we transferred to our third California freeway. As we rounded the curve of the interchange from the 55 to the 91, my cell phone rang with a number I knew was the City of Hope hospital. I quickly thought it may be the office calling to reschedule my next appointment with my medical oncologist, or that my surgeon's nurse was calling to see how I was doing after rehab. I never dreamed it would have been my radiation oncologist after we had learned from him that radiation therapy was NOT a viable option.

Dr. Wong started off the conversation noting that he had called my parents house first and my dad had given him my cell phone number to call. He then advised me that he had just returned from a seminar where he learned about a new procedure which was just approved by the FDA for use with cancer patients and City of Hope was approved to administer this new procedure.

He began to explain bits and pieces of this treatment plan. Some of which I was comprehending and some of which was above my head at this time. I was caught off guard by the whole phone call as we were leaving town, I didn't know if this was something that I wanted to participate in or not. Dr. Wong asked me what my thoughts were. I had to ask him if I could get some information about this procedure to review so I would know if it was something I was interested in exploring. Immediately he emailed me two documents on the procedure for my review. I had two weeks to give him an answer on if I wanted to explore this further or not.

The information provided was not a whole lot more than what the doctor had already given me over the phone. There were some things which concerned me about the procedure and my family and I had a lot of questions before we could commit to wanting to do this. It seemed promising and risky at the same time.

This procedure is called MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). So basically, by the doctors using an MRI to position a patient and the ultrasound on a low dose to begin with, the doctor can make sure the ultrasound is in the correct location and begin the lengthy treatment. This procedure has been used in many other countries with great results for various ailments including some cancers, pain relief and fibroids where traditional radiation therapy cannot be used.

This procedure uses energy that is generated by an ultrasound source and where the rays of the ultrasound are focused at a specific point in the body to create a significant heating at this focus that is much higher than anywhere else. In plain English, the ultrasound it targeted to a specific spot in the body and will elevate the temperature of that area only for a period of time killing the tissue in that area only. Pain should be gone within two days of the treatment. The treatment could be anywhere from 3-6 hours. This is a type of surgery now available without the use of a knife or a prolonged stay in the hospital. This is treated as an outpatient surgery.

If I pass the pre-screening portion of this (waiting to hear from the doctor now), I will need to have my questions answered by the doctor so I can make my decision if I want to go through with this or not. It certainly sounds promising when I thought there was no hope at all to get better! I know that as I wait on the Lord and follow what I believe is His direction, things will eventually turn around for the good.

Next..."Flu, Flu, Flu and more Flu"

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

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